Cameron Diaz's The Body Book Reviewed - Is It Any Good?

Actress Cameron Diaz attends the Tag Heuer flagship store opening on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)
Evan Agostini/Invision/AP
Actress Cameron Diaz attends the Tag Heuer flagship store opening on Tuesday, Jan. 28, 2014 in New York. (Photo by Evan Agostini/Invision/AP)

Cameron Diaz's The Body Book released to mixed reactions.

Jezebel and HuffPost Canada loved it, saying it was "genuinely useful", while Daisy Buchanan wrote a scathing review for The Mirror saying "we don't need another famous woman telling other women how they should look".

Leigh Blickley, blogging on HuffPost US interviewed Diaz, who explained: "What I would tell women is that your body is your responsibility. It's your body, nobody else can take care of it and you really, truly do not know what body you have and what your body is capable of until you been consistent with meeting its needs on the level of nutrition and physical activity."

We're not fans of slagging off fellow women, famous or not, so how did the book stand up as a health guide, regardless of its celebrity author? The answer isn't as straightforward as we thought.

First impressions

Whatever your feelings are about Cameron Diaz, there is no denying she's got an amazing body that looks the picture of health. But I feel that reviews saying this will make other women feel bad (because Diaz is a celebrity and normal women are, well, normal) aren't really justified. The emphasis on the book is around healthy living, nutrition and explaining how certain foods and lifestyles impact on the body's function, such as the great section that blends Diaz's personal account of breakfast and how delaying it affects your energy levels.

In short, she's not saying "If you do this you'll look like me", rather she's promoting a more sustainable way of living and eating.

The high points

This isn't Gwyneth Paltrow's Goop, which means that it is a lot more accessible for women and men who want to learn about healthy eating, but get turned off by the words gluten-free.

The strongest parts are when Diaz frames a healthy point with an anecdote, for instance when talking about food groups high in vitamins, she writes:

When I was cooking with my nieces recently, one of them asked me: "Aunty, how do you know how to make this food taste so good?"

And I said, "Because I just tried. I thought about what I wanted to eat, I looked up a recipe on the internet and found out how to make it and I just kept cooking it until I finally got it to taste like what I wanted it to taste like."

Most importantly, you don't get the feeling you're being preached at. It's written in a style that says 'this worked for me', and while some of the criticism has been around Diaz having accessing to the world's top nutritionists, we fail to see how this is a bad thing. She's not holding up an impossible standard for healthy eating.

And some of it is written in a genuinely likeable style, eg: "Just because you can put something in your mouth, chew it, swallow it and then poop it out doesn't mean it's food. It just means you can chew it, swallow it and poop it out."

The low points

Despite that positive start, there are a few points that made me wonder if this was edited properly. At certain points the book reads like it is an excerpt from Diaz's own diary (there are caps, exclamation points and italics galore) and this can get a bit wearing.

However, criticising this is slightly like kicking a puppy, as when she slips into this kind of punctuation and style, it's because she's really passionate about hitting home her point. For instance, when she writes: "YOU ARE MORE BEAUTIFUL THAN YOU HAVE EVER IMAGINED."

There is also a slightly inconsistent flow in style between Diaz's personal anecdotes and the quite straightforward science-based stuff. The book is also not easy to reference. It's divided into nutrition, fitness and mind, but the bullet points are not so easy to pick out.

The passages that are great are the ones that start with her personal stories, and this really feels like it meets the expectation of the book. Diaz shares her tips, what worked for her and how to carry it out yourself. But the passages I'm not such a fan of are the straight science sections that quite honestly, could have been taken from any health website or article.

Sections on what a healthy poo should resemble, how we're a sedentary society and how the body uses sugar is ground that seems to have been covered before and (no offence, Cameron) by scientists, not celebrities.

Overall verdict: Immensely likeable for a celebrity book - it's clear Cameron Diaz is really passionate about health, and it's a great start for people who don't know much about nutrition or how the body works. If you do know your stuff around this topic, it's not quite worth the £16.99.

Take a look at the top takeaways from the book, courtesy of HuffPost Canada:

Eat Breakfast

Cameron Diaz's Health Tips